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Young graduates have unrealistic expectations about career progression

Young graduates may have unrealistic expectations about how quickly their careers will progress, according to a survey from BCL Legal Recruitment.

Great expectations

Over half of 'Generation Y' graduates - generally taken to mean those who were born between the early 1980s and 2000s - expect to be in a management role within three years of starting work.

Some 13 per cent were more ambitious still, expecting a management role within a year.

Disillusion and disappointment could be the result of thwarted expectations.

The research said the Generation Y graduates were likely to leave a job if they didn't get 'rapid advancement' and 'career status'.

Almost two in five people surveyed were dissatisfied with career advancement in their current organisation, it said.

Keeping them happy

Generation Y graduates take a different approach to work, the study said. They expect managers to be their coaches rather than bosses.

With 'freedom and autonomy in their work', and with managers recognising the value they place on independence, this group of young employees are much more likely to stay in their roles, it said.

The report also singled out five common principles behind job satisfaction:


  • having good working relationships with colleagues
  • freedom and flexibility to improvise, innovate, and work independently
  • good communication and trust between management and employees
  • variety and opportunity to learn new things
  • frequent challenges.

Acas publications and services

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